Today at 13.30 hours the Spanish national police attacked protesters who had been occupying the steps of parliament since last night. This comes after the official page for the camp in Valencia called for a protest before the Corts Valencianes, the main legislative organ of the Comunitat Valenciana. Today the new members were to be sworn into their charges after being elected on the past 22nd of May, and many of them, mostly belonging to the right wing Partido Popular, did so even though they are currently facing serious corruption charges.
The protesters that gathered there last night were evicted without major incidents. Today, however, there were at least 18 people injured (8 of them policemen) and 5 arrests. There are different versions on how the violence started. Some say that the police attacked after a young man jumped over the security fence towards the door. The police say that a small group of radical protesters attacked them with bottles and blunt objects, and that the retaliation was to arrest these few agitators and to protect the politicians that were going into the building. None of the injuries are serious even though the emergency services had to be called in to take a 55 year old woman to the hospital with mild concussions on her head and face. Maria Guillem, aged 42, was injured in the lip and also had to be taken away in an ambulance. She stated that “I don’t know what happened, the police arrived and pushed me to the ground”. During the ten or fifteen minutes of violence, Juan Ponce, a deputy for the political party Compromis, was injured by the police in his arm. He has stated that he did not deserve being hit as we was just standing by. Compromis has also said that they might press charges. Another spokesperson for Compromis, Enric Morera, said that he did not understand the exaggerated police operative to control the protests when “the parliament has been constituted with people implicated with or accused of severe corruption charges”. On the other hand a government representative asked for comprehension, stating that the police acted “responsibly and professionally”. He also apologized to the injured civilians but reminded the public that eight policemen were attacked, and that one of them was even cut on the face with a pair of scissors.
In the aftermath of the events, protests continue to occupy the streets of Valencia. Around a thousand of them gathered before the police headquarters demanding the release of the arrested activists. The official group for the Valencia camp issued a statement, along with other small-party politicians, asking for the dismissal of the chief-of-police of the city, stating that the violence was uncalled for in a pacific protest, and that their actions were grossly disproportionate. They have also called for a march that is to start at 20.15 hrs and end in front of the regional government building (Sub-delegacion de Gobierno). The attack this morning has managed to put the 15M movement back in the media spotlight, something the organizers (Twitter accounts of the camps in Madrid in Barcelona) view as very positive, taking into account the fact that the biggest demonstration is planned for the upcoming 19th of June.
Click here for the event on Facebook, and here for the international event promoted by Democracia Real Ya! (there are several other pages hosting the event in different countries, as there is no official page)
Click here for a photographic account of the incident.